Hague hits out at Argentina’s seizure of YPF

Marion Dakers
FOREIGN secretary William Hague warned yesterday that Argentina’s planned seizure of oil company YPF is a sign of the country’s growing antagonism towards foreign investors.

“The Argentine government has made no secret of the fact that it wishes to reduce imports and boost its domestic trade surplus through a variety of restrictive trade measures,” Hague said in a statement.

The European Commission meanwhile backed the position of Spain, which has threatened economic “consequences” for Argentina over the move to take control of YPF. Spanish oil group Repsol owns the 51 per cent stake in YPF that Argentina hopes to renationalise, claiming Repsol has not invested enough in the company.

“A takeover of YPF, which is an important EU investment in Argentina, sends a very negative signal to international investors, who seek stability and predictability for their investments, and it could seriously harm the business environment in Argentina,” said EC vice president for industry Antonio Tajani.

But anxiety over Argentina’s next move did not stop shares in Falklands-based oil explorer Borders & Southern rocketing 55 per cent to 108p on hopes of a lucrative oil find.

London-listed firms including Andes Energie and President Petroleum said yesterday they will work with Argentina and YPF even if it changes hands.